Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind.
After a rough time working a night shift job in the city, Alvin is spending the summer on a remote two-man public works crew painting lines on newly paved roads through what is a recently wildfire-ravaged region of Texas. He is camping along the way living off the land, even doing so on his days off. He is what he considers a responsible man, earning and sending money to his girlfriend, Madison, a single mother, so that she need not concern herself with anything besides child rearing. The junior second that Alvin hires for his crew is Madison's brother, Lance. Alvin's controlling and judgmental nature comes to the surface in his dealings with more immature and irresponsible Lance, who goes back to the city on the weekends so that he can have "his little man squeezed", something he cannot understand in Alvin being without Madison or any woman for such a long stretch of time. Alvin prefers to stay in the burnt out woods on the weekends as being alone with his thoughts and his chores - ... Written by
This is the second film Emile Hirsch has starred in featuring music by Explosions in the Sky. The first was "Lone Survivor" (2013) See more »
The inspection sticker on the truck used in the film has the date 2011 yet the film is based in 1988 See more »
[about cassette tape]
Hey! What are you doing?
I was falling asleep. I thought it would be a good idea to change the station situation.
It wasn't. I was listening to that.
I know, but it's boring for the rest of us. I was falling asleep doing the work.
So, I wanna play this tape. I wanna play this play to get motivated and pumped up, ya know?
I know, I know you want to play that tape. Look, you know what, Lance, I'm not here to start a fight. That's not what I want to do. ...
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The letters for the title appear in time with the taps of the hammer as they hammer a post into the ground. See more »
"You tried kill yourself by jumping off a 12 foot cliff?" (Lance to Alvin)
I'm a sucker for minimalism and absurdism, the kind Samuel Beckett and Jerry Seinfeld make their own: terse dialogue about nothing that somehow elicits humor and becomes something deeper with thoughts about life, loss, and hope.
Writer-director David Gordon Green has crafted a simple bromatic morality tale of two guys painting road lines in 1988 after a forest fire near Austin, Texas. The purged, scorched landscape of the ravaged but beautiful Bastrop State Park serves as metaphor for the men/boys' cleansing journey marching toward a renewed life. One critic calls it "broken people in a broken forest."
The larger concerns of the film, which is episodic with love and loss overlaying the quotidian activities of painting road lines, are manifold: In Alvin's (Paul Rudd) case, how can he keep his lover, Madison, when he is absent and really has little to offer? In Lance's (EmileHirsch) life, how can he mature enough to deal with the heartbreak his sister is causing Alvin by breaking up with him. Alvin and Lance's conversation lightly brushes the issue of their relationship with women, but in simple lives, this issue is grand and well accounted for by Green's spare dialogue: "Can we enjoy the silence?"
As in Beckett's Waiting for Godot, where the characters are trying "to hold the terrible silence at bay," nothing like God or illumination is arriving, just an old man (Lance LeGault) driving a truck with some moonshine and pithy life advice.
As the road lines and the drink proliferate, issues for the three men emerge having to do with their relationships with women. The ingenious part is to make what the truck driver says and does echo the very heart of the conflicts with the two line painters.
So Prince Avalanche (a title Green admits makes little sense but could reflect the absurdist atmosphere, wherein they are lords of chaos at best) is also about nothing because nothing is happening while life-defining relationships are lying underneath. As with Hemingway, the spare story asks you to consider if the bell is tolling for just these three loners, or is it tolling for you, too?
You don't need to be a Prince who causes Avalanches to see that the issues of love and women do amount to a hill of beans for each little male life. Simplicity trumps complexity once again.
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